Sussex 291 & 131 Durham 316 & 107-1 <i>(Durham win by nine wkts)</i>: Plunkett loosens Sussex grip on title

By Jon Culleyat the Riverside

Sussex's grip on their County Championship crown suddenly looks tenuous after Durham swept to a nine-victory here that leaves Lancashire in pole position going into next Wednesday's last round of matches.

Sussex already know they will field an under-strength team next week against Worcestershire. Without strike bowler Rana Naved-ul-Hasan following his serious injury here, a family bereavement has ruled out leading run-scorer Murray Goodwin.

Luke Wright, Matt Prior and James Kirtley are all with England in South Africa and both Mushtaq Ahmed and Saqlain Mushtaq need treatment for knee injuries. Chris Adams has a damaged left foot as a result of the Liam Plunkett yorker that claimed his wicket.

"There could be a great opportunity for someone to make a name for himself at Hove next week," Adams said, doing his best to remain positive.

Sussex were finished off yesterday when Plunkett took three wickets in the space of five balls to dismiss Robin Martin-Jenkins, Adams and Mushtaq.

With Rana unable to bat, they were all out for 131, leaving Durham needing 107 to win, a target they achieved for the loss of Mark Stoneman. Durham, however, lost a point for slow over-rate, which could yet prove critical.

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